Experienced Tacoma Attorneys Explain State and Federal Trucking Laws
What you need to know following a commercial truck accident in Washington
Because of the heightened danger that comes with the size of commercial trucks and their often hazardous cargoes, state and federal authorities have enacted additional laws and regulations to govern commercial transport. Licensing is more stringent for semi-truck drivers, and trucks themselves must have operating permits. Of course, all the regulation in the world will not prevent poor outcomes if the regulations lack oversight. Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. presents this brief explanation of trucking regulations and the authorities that monitor compliance.
Federal regulations for interstate trucking
The U.S. Constitution allows Congress to regulate interstate commerce. Congress has also authorized the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to write and enforce regulations for:
For example, the requirements for obtaining a license to drive a semi are much more stringent than those for obtaining a regular driver license. Additionally, federal laws dictate the maximum number of hours an operator may be on the road without a break (known as Hours-of-Service Regulations) and require drivers and trucking companies to keep a log detailing that data. Federal laws also dictate the level of maintenance performed on large trucks and the rules for the relevant recordkeeping. This information can be the key to proving liability in your truck accident involving impaired driving, faulty maintenance or a product defect.
Washington State regulations designed to prevent accidents and save lives
Washington also exercises jurisdiction over commercial transport within the state’s borders, permitting some exceptions to federal trucking laws and imposing specific state standards in other areas. For example, for intrastate operations, Washington allows individuals 18 years of age and older (rather than 21 and over) to obtain a license to drive a large vehicle. Washington has instituted many safety requirements including those involving:
The Washington State Patrol's Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau is the enforcement body for state truck regulations.
Contact our Tacoma truck accident attorneys for answers about federal and state trucking laws
If you or someone you know was injured in an accident with a commercial truck, uncovering a violation of state or federal regulations may help establish negligence. The seasoned truck accident attorneys at Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. can evaluate your case for free and initiate a full investigation. To schedule a consultation, call us at 253.250.4516 or contact our office online.